Monday, 12 April 2021

April Hiatus

Hi, 

Sorry to do this again, but I have a lot going on right now! See you all again in May. 

All the best,

Hannah

Thursday, 1 April 2021

March Wrap-up

 ...I may have completely lost track of time and forgotten that today was the 1st April. Happy April Fool's Day, I guess? Here's to a great (and hopefully long and sunny) bank holiday weekend!

News from the Reading Front

This month, I read...

  • Spy X Family Volumes 1-4 by Tatsuya Endo
  • My Hero Academia Volumes 25-29 by Kohei Horikoshi
  • Challenge of the Super Sons #8, #9, and #10 by Peter J. Tomasi (writing), Max Raynor (art), Luis Guerrero (art), and Evan Stanley (art)
  • Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0 by Gege Akutami
  • A Curious History of Sex by Kate Lister 

I know I said I was going to finish a novel this month, but, hey, I read a non-fiction book and that'll do for me!

I'm now up to date on the My Hero Academia manga and, dear God, that was a mistake. 

News from the Writing Front

I realised something important this month. For the last five years, I have been making plans and setting goals as if I was still sixteen. Those same five years, I was studying at university, looking for work, and dealing with things that couldn't be avoided. Some people probably could have completed the goals I was setting alongside all that, but still. I think I need to be kinder to myself. As one of my friends pointed out - even if I didn't complete the first draft of this story in 2017, 2018, 2019, I did complete it on the 1st Jan 2020 and I'm still working on it now. That's commitment. 

News from the Drawing Front

Okay, so technically I drew this today (1st of April), but enjoy the magical girl vibes (and ignore the hands...).


 
News from the Net

  • If you are up to date on the My Hero Academia anime (I am not), season five has just started airing! [Source]

Did you get fooled by anyone today?

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Superheroes vs Monsters (Batman: Night of the Monster Men by Steve Orlando, Tom King, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV, Riley Rossmo, Roge Antonio, and Andy MacDonald)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34690739-batman
3/5

I'm surprised at how low the Goodreads rating is for this. It's the lowest I've seen since Pamela

(Ouch.)

I mean, it's not incredible, but it's not terrible either. It's superheroes vs monsters - it's pretty hard to suck all the joy out of that! Batman: Night of the Monster Men crosses over Batman, Nightwing, and Detective Comics.


The Good
  • The dynamic between Batman and Batwoman is really interesting. I'm coming into this with very little context, but I gather Tim's just died and Bruce is responding to this by freaking out about everyone's mortality and trying to keep them out of the fighting. He outright states that they're his responsibility, because he's the one who brought them into this in the first place. Meanwhile, Batwoman's out here like, you realise not all of these guys are kids anymore, right? 
  • Batwoman is a tough love type of teacher. The closest she comes to praise throughout this whole volume is, "I'm not unimpressed." It's glorious.
  • Steph is in it. I'm not saying that that's the entire reason I picked this up in the first place, but that is the entire reason I picked this up in the first place. I loved the dynamic between her and Cass.
  • Also worth noting that Duke is in it, because Duke is fabulous. 
  • The psychological profiling of Batman. Also, the two cents that Dick threw in after the final battle.  
  • No spoilers, but that was some A+ problem-solving from Dick at the end. 
The Bad
  • I know that Tim's just "died" and they're trying to emphasise how important he is, but there's really no one else they can call when it comes to toxins and chemicals? Bruce wants to stay out fighting the monsters, so he's out, but what about Barbara? Or Damian?
  • Commissioner Gordon tells Batman that his officers can't be seen working with fugitive vigilantes. Two words: bat signal.
  • Not a big fan of the art, I have to admit.  
What was the last story you read where the Goodreads rating surprised you?

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

What Makes a Hero? (You're Watching Wednesday #17)

Good morning. I'm Hannah -

(- And I'm Ivy.)

And -

The feature where we talk about shows -

(- And films.)

Plenty of internet ink has already been spilled on Stain and his philosophy, but let me give it a shot! Stain is a new villain - a vigilante, of sorts - who goes around slaying pro heroes who don't fit his ideal definition of "hero". Basically, he thinks that hero is a title that should be earned through nobility and selflessness, and that heroes should not be looking for wealth, fame, power, or any other form of payment. 

There's one teeny, tiny issue with this (other than the literal murders he's committing).

In this society, being a hero is literally a career - of course people are going to go into it for the money. This is addressed pretty early on in the series through Uraraka, of all characters. Sure, she's got a good heart, but the real reason she wants to be a hero is that she grew up poor and wants to provide for her family. Her friends, Midoriya and Ida, both think that's a perfectly noble reason to enter the profession. I don't really see any reason to disagree - I mean, the career she's chosen helps people and requires her to risk her life. To me, Stain seems to be clinging to an outdated concept of the word hero, which is defunct in this universe. Legally defunct, given that bystanders can't use their quirk to help without risking arrest unless they have a hero license - that bystander effect we saw in episode two way back in season one? That's enforced. You could argue that - as he's quirkless - Midoriya was the only non-licensed person at the scene of the sludge monster incident who could intervene.

Not helping Stain's case is that, recently, he's taken out Ida's brother, the pro hero Ingenium. Admittedly, everything we know about him as a hero is seen through Ida's heavily biased eyes, but he seems like a genuine enough guy. Other than Midoriya's training, Ida is the big focus of this arc. Ida, the straight-laced, overly earnest, class representative of Class 1-A, is from an established family legacy of heroes and he's now plotting to use his internship to commit vigilante crimes - good job, Stain, you're corrupting the next generation! He's the worst possible character to confront Stain, because he manages to prove his point just by existing. Back during the entrance exam in season one, there were robots that prospective students were awarded points for destroying and giant robots that were worth no points at all. Ida (and most of the other kids taking the exam) ran from the giant robot instead of trying to help Uraraka, who was injured and couldn't get away. When it transpired later that they were being scored both on how many robots they destroyed and their roles in saving their competition, instead of understanding the obvious point (a hero helps even when there is no obvious benefit to them), Ida assumes that Midoriya (who passed the exam with rescue points alone) is very shrewd and worked out that there would be points awarded for this. He also thinks to himself that of course, if it wasn't an exam, he would stop to help too, but that's the issue - at a time when he saw no benefit to helping someone, he ran. And he again ignores someone in danger in this arc, right in front of the villain who is angry at heroes being self-centred and working only for their own gain. It's an own goal of epic proportions. Of course, Ida isn't a qualified hero yet. He's a fifteen year old kid whose brother's just been almost murdered. This arc is a wake-up call to tell him where he needs to grow.

This is getting long, but before I move onto the final exam arc (I have a lot of opinions), can I just say that I LOVE it when Todoroki gets angry? Granted, English-Dub-Todoroki always sounds like he's trying to pick a fight, but I mean when he actually gets angry, because Todoroki has a very strong sense of justice. This kid was abused by a father who seems to have viewed raising a family as a science project, but it hasn't affected his ability to differentiate between right and wrong. He knows what his father did wasn't right, he can empathise with Ida's anger without condoning it, and he can recognise when action needs to be taken to save lives, even if the law says it would be wrong. 

-

I have so many issues with the rules of the final exam that the students take at the end of this season. So. Many. Issues. The rules are simple. The students are split into pairs to fight a teacher. To win, either one of them needs to escape the battlefield, or they need to cuff the teacher. The teachers are wearing weights to try and give them less of an advantage. Seems fine on paper, right.

Except that they're taking the exam one after the other and students who aren't currently being examined can either watch their peers' exams or plan with their partner. That means that the earlier they have the exam, the more of a disadvantage they're at. Especially with Recovery Girl sitting in the monitor room happily chatting it up with Midoriya, Uraraka, and co., explaining what their classmates are doing wrong. By the sounds of it, Kirishima and Satou went in immediately and didn't get any planning time at all! (Look, I'm not saying they would have used it.) Of course, the whole point of them failing is to prove that characters can fail to build suspense for Midoriya and Bakugou having to work together. I think Tsuyu's reaction in the dub, which is both valid as hell and a glorious burn on poor Satou, puts it best, "Kirishima went down." That's what's really important here. Satou is a glorified background character (I like him just fine, but he's had as much focus as Koda and, I think, done much less with it), whereas Kirishima has had quite a bit of screentime by this point. He also made it into the top eight of the tournament during the Sports Festival, so we know he's good at what he does. Having him fail helps build the tension for the more important matches (Midoriya and Bakugou vs All Might and Yaoyorozu and Todoroki vs Eraser Head).

Really though, my biggest issue with this arc is that Sero fails the exam, because it makes no sense for him to fail if Mineta passes. Sero's quirk is that he has sticky tape dispensers for elbows, which he can use to swing around like spiderman, or set traps, or, you know, stick things down. Without Sero, Mineta would have been put to sleep at the beginning of the match and he wouldn't have had the tape to prevent himself from breathing in Midnight's mist. Sero is indispensible to Mineta successful escape from the battlefield and penalised - in a pratical exam on the hero course - for thinking like a hero and saving Mineta (of all people) at the expense of himself. (He's also one of my underrated faves, but, of course, that's totally unrelated.) 

We'll get to the two big matches in a moment, but Jirou and Koda vs Present Mic is maybe my favourite one of the lot. Koda's the other glorified background character in Class 1-A (actually, drop the glorified - he is a background character) and he can talk to animals. He's a good example of one of Mineta's traits being done better in another character in that Koda is a bit of a scaredy-cat, but it's endearing and he overcomes it because Jirou needs his help. He also gets a sliver of Mineta's screentime. I'm just saying.

So, Yaoyorozu and Todoroki vs Eraser Head. These two have been paired together based on the fact that they both got in to U.A. on recommendation. We don't know anything about that, but Todoroki is the son of the number two hero and Yaoyorozu is from a very rich family, so I'm calling nepotism and money. In fairness, Todoroki is incredibly powerful and Yaoyorozu has a versatile quirk backed up by leadership skills and a good sense of strategy. This whole match is quite sweet. It's all about Yaoyorozu getting her confidence back after the Sports Festival - even as Aizawa is fighting against them (and not holding back), that's what he's going for - and Todoroki and Yaoyorozu demonstrate a lot of faith in and respect for each other. We love a supportive friendship!

Finally, we have Midoriya and Bakugou vs All Might. Aizawa paired these two together because they get on so badly and Bakugou, who is terrible at teamwork in general, is at his worst when forced to work with Midoriya. The breakthrough for these two comes later, but this match does force them to take significant steps in the right direction. Bakugou's major personality flaw - and Bakugou's whole personality is made up of flaws, so it's a serious competition - is his pride. He won't accept help. He has to do everything himself. Otherwise, he thinks he's being pitied and looked down on. Midoriya correctly identifies the major issue with his and Bakugou's relationship - they never have real conversations. Every misunderstanding has just built up and up until they're people who cannot understand each other anymore. Of course, these two managing to come together to any extent is a minor miracle. You just start to think that they have a chance and then All Might points out that working together is not a point in their favour in this exam - it's literally the bare minimum of what is expected. Do they make enough of a start on overcoming their difference to win?

That's perhaps the one thing in this season that I'm not going to spoil!

 
What have you been watching recently?

Sunday, 28 February 2021

February Wrap-up


Is anyone else tired all the time at the moment? I think my body has decided that February equals winter equals time to go into hibernation.

News from the Reading Front

This month, I read...

I also started reading Nine Dragons' Ball Parade and Witch Watch, which are new manga series which just started running. They're only at three and four chapters respectively, but if you've got the Shonen Jump app they're definitely worth checking out. Also, if anyone has any theories on what Ryudo's deal is, please drop them in the comments. I spent the whole first chapter of Nine Dragons' Ball Parade waiting for the other shoe to drop and now, after that last chapter, I've decided he's probably dying.

It is probably a bad sign as a book blogger to be making it a goal to have finished at least one novel by the end of next month, but here I am making that goal. I actually have the last three days of the month off, so hopefully, once this is posted, I will be close to finishing Komarr

News from the Net

  • Days Volume 23 by Tsuyoshi Yasuda drops in English on the 27th April 2021. [Source]
  • Just a reminder that Maggie Stiefvater's Mister Impossible will be released on the 18th May 2021. [Source] If anyone missed it, Stiefvater posted a teaser on Twitter.
  • Marvel are releasing a Wiccan and Hulkling honeymoon one-shot by Tini Howard (writing), Luciano Vecchio (art), and Espen Grundetjern (colours) on the 3rd March 2021. You can read a preview here.  
  • Monster Camp now has achievements on Steam! [Source]
How was your February?